Select Page

I’ve never been much into the meaning of a names. However, when you google the name Kaden there are two meanings that show up and they are so fitting to our Kaden. The first is “companion” and I cannot imagine a better companion than my big man. The other which is even more fitting is “spirit of battle” or “fighter”. Boy did we see that in the past week.

Last Saturday the morning started as usual, the kids had breakfast and everyone is ready for a relaxing weekend. About 11:00am Kaden started to complain in his chair. I took him out and as I did Miki noticed something on his back. We took him into our room and noticed a lump about the size of a golf ball under the incision scar on his back. We were absolutely frantic. We called his phys. med doctor and the neurosurgeon. The phys. medicine doc called back right away and she immediately told us to calm down that this was not an emergency. Whew! So what is it?

She said it is rare but Kaden is leaking spinal fluid. My first thought is, “That’s not an emergency? Don’t you need the spinal fluid to stay where it belongs?”. She said it is a rare occurrence but they have seen it before. The incision on the inside is not quite healed up. It is not an emergency but it could be causing him to have a pretty nasty headache. So, now Kaden has to alternate sitting and lying down every hour or two, probably for the next couple weeks and take a medication to decrease the amount of spinal fluid he produces. Miki and I can’t help but feel like, “How many more rare things can one kid endure?”

Well, we calmed down and decided we’ll just have to deal with it. Before we get him off the bed Miki notices that he feels feverish. Can that be related? So we call the doctor back and she says no. We go through the afternoon and he starts to look worse and gets sick about 3:00pm. We talk to the doctor again and she says it is not related. Well now what. During the afternoon he starts to cough a little and we realize he has the flu. We got him to sleep early, he got sick several times over the night and wakes up looking much better on Sunday. He eats a very light breakfast and lunch and things look better. About 3:00pm he starts to spike a fever again and also starts throwing up again. Arghhh! We decide to keep him home on Monday and make an appointment to see his pediatrician on Monday afternoon. Monday goes much like Sunday except no throwing up.

We go to the doctors office, she checks him out, does the swab for strep and it comes back negative. She says his lungs sound good but he looks like hell. The doctor sent us to Children’s Hospital clinic for a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and says it’s probably viral. However, she also says because of Kaden’s history and underlying mitochondrial illness if he continues to get sick we may need to take him to Children’s Hospital. So we go for the x-ray and low and behold he has pneumonia. Off to the hospital.

We get to the hospital and they send us straight back into the ER. Within half an hour they decide to admit him. It’s now Monday 5:00pm and the IV’s are running antibiotics and fluids to get him some nutrients. At this point things get a little tense because with the underlying mito disease Kaden is susceptible to a stroke when his body is so severely stressed. Because of this we have an emergency protocol that is followed to give him medicine that will keep him from having a stroke and if he does it can actually reverse the affects. That being said he gets through the night and looks a little better the next day.

On Tuesday, we saw more than two dozen different doctors. Residents, neurologists, geneticists, you name it. Everyone wanted to see the kid with the rare mitochondrial disease. While the attention is good because we now have a lot of people looking out for him, he also isn’t getting any rest. They decide to do an EEG to see how is brain activity is and it came back normal. The geneticist also schedules an MRI for Wednesday morning to make sure that nothing has changed and because they say it can give insight into how to treat him. At this point Miki and I aren’t noticing any neurological change in Kaden. He just looks exhausted, as most people with pneumonia do! Tuesday evening an anesthesiologist showed up and said that they planned on putting Kaden completely under for the MRI….. Now there are alarm bells going off in our heads. Whenever Kade is put under sedation he tends to be sick for 1-3 days. That is not what we need right now!

Miki and I ask to talk to his treating doctor and tell her that by no means will they sedate Kaden for anything. She says lets postpone the MRI to later on Wednesday and talk as a group with neurology and genetics in the morning. Well, we have our meeting in the morning and genetics says that they need the MRI to be sure that they are treating Kaden correctly for the next time he may end up in the hospital due to an illness. My feeling is, we need to make sure he makes it through this illness first and your clinical, academic study can go pound sand! Thankfully the treating physician agreed, the geneticist relented and the MRI was canceled. I know they all have Kade’s best interest in mind but there has to be a point where his immediate health comes before planning for the future. We know Kaden’s condition is rare. Only 6 other cases have been confirmed worldwide but I only worry about this one case. He’s not going to be anyone’s guinea pig, ever!

By Wednesday morning Kaden started to turn the corner and looked a lot better, he was livelier and he was keeping his food down. Aside from the two IVs he had, one in the hand and one in the foot, he was starting to look like himself. Thursday they took him off the IVs and went to oral medications so they could observe him for 24 hours or so, and by 3pm on Friday we were headed home. For the most part he is acting like his old self, just tired. He’s sleeping now and hopefully will sleep through the night in his own bed. We NEED a relaxing uneventful weekend…. for starters. Maybe a relaxing uneventful 6 months would be good. Not likely in the Stark house.

Well, we’re all home now. I would like to thank my parents for coming up and spending the week with Kylie and Jacob. Thanks to Kim and Brad for taking in Kylie and Jacob on Monday night, I don’t know what we would do without Miss Kim!  And also thanks to the breakfast club for the cookie basket and the wonderful meals the last three nights. Cox your mostacolli kicked ass. Seriously though, we are overwhelmed by the support we get in times like this. We have the greatest friends and family and we love you all. Thanks again.